While the Mountain Cambridge Little School embraces the guidelines of the ISASA curriculum, we have opted to incorporate these guidelines as part of an emergent curriculum in order to ensure that we capture the imagination and curiosity of the children within our care. This type of approach ensures that the materials we present to the children cover the required skills, remain relevant, appeal to the child’s interest and can be adapted as required. This in turn ensures that the way we present information or ideas to the children remains dynamic, fresh and exciting and ensures their active participation.
The approach that will be incorporated into the Pre-Primary is the Reggio Emilia approach. In the Reggio Emilia approach children are viewed as curious, competent, ambitious, creative and capable individuals who ultimately are in control of their own learning. They therefore require a nurturing, dynamic, enriched and supportive environment in which purposeful play takes place, and where the children are reconnected with nature and encouraged to explore and discover.
It is the educator’s role to nurture and guide the children, to listen to what they have to offer, include them in the decision making process and ultimately foster in the child, a love of nature and lifelong learning.
The educational cornerstones that our pre-school’s curriculum is based on are:
- Core development
Grade 000 Reggio Emilia Approach
The Reggio Emilia Approach is an innovative and inspiring approach to early childhood education. It values the child as strong, capable and resilient; rich with wonder and knowledge. Every child brings with them deep curiosity and potential and this innate curiosity drives their interest to understand their world and their place within it.
The Reggio Emilia Approach originated in the town (and surrounding areas) of Reggio Emilia in Italy out of a movement towards progressive and cooperative early childhood education. It is unique to Reggio Emilia.
Children are capable of constructing their own learning
They are driven by their interests to understand and know more. Children form an understanding of themselves and their place in the world through their interactions with others. There is a strong focus on social collaboration, working in groups, where each child is an equal participant, having their thoughts and questions valued. The adult is not the giver of knowledge. Children search out the knowledge through their own investigations.
Children are communicators
Communication is a process, a way of discovering things, asking questions, using language as play. Playing with sounds and rhythm and rhyme; delighting in the process of communicating. Children are encouraged to use language to investigate and explore, to reflect on their experiences. They are listened to with respect, believing that their questions and observations are an opportunity to learn and search together. It is a process, a continual process. A collaborative process rather than the child asking a question and the adult offering the answers. The search is undertaken together.
The environment is the third teacher
The environment is recognised for its potential to inspire children. An environment filled with natural light, order and beauty. Every material is considered for its purpose, every corner is ever-evolving to encourage children to delve deeper and deeper into their interests. The space encourages collaboration, communication and exploration. The space respects children as capable by providing them with authentic materials & tools.
The Teacher is a mentor and guide
Our role as teachers is to observe (our) children, listen to their questions and their stories, find what interests them and then provide them with opportunities to explore these interests further. Reggio Emilia takes a child-led project approach. The projects aren’t planned in advance, they emerge based on the child’s interests.
An emphasis on documenting children’s thoughts
There is an emphasis on carefully displaying and documenting children’s thoughts and progression of thinking; making their thoughts visible in many different ways: photographs, transcripts of children’s thoughts and explanations, visual representations (drawings, sculptures etc.) all designed to show the child’s learning process.
The Hundred Languages of Children
The most well-known aspect of the Reggio Emilia Approach. The belief that children use many different ways to show their understanding and express their thoughts and creativity. A hundred different ways of thinking, of discovering, of learning. Through drawing and sculpting, through dance and movement, through painting and pretend play, through modeling and music, and that each one of these Hundred Languages must be valued and nurtured. That they are all a part of the child, that learning and play are not separated. The Reggio Emilia Approach emphasises hands-on discovery learning that allows the child to use all their senses and all their languages to learn.